The reference point of Magna Graecia history and culture, nowadays Crotone is a very modern Calabrian town, an industrial and business centre which enjoys an advanced and fertile agriculture. Gently set on the east coast promontory of the Marquisate, it is at 8 meters above sea-level and wholly keeps, thanks to its port, its importance as a Mediterranean port where there is still a well-equipped and efficient mine. Once stood as a Greek acropolis, nowadays one can find the oldest part of the town that keeps its medieval aspect untouched. In addition to the old centre, there is industrial Crotone whose development can be dated about the first decade after the unity of Italy but its definitive boost has been given after the first half of the twenties when, thanks to the electric installations of the neighboring Sila, the first factories were risen.
Today in Crotone, besides the brick-works and the machine and agricultural implements shops, there are other big industrial groups, metal works and chemistry. The old centre is rich in proofs of great architectural and artistic value. Beginning with the Cathedral where is kept the Madonna of Capocolonna, a Byzantine tablet coming from the Sanctuary of Capo Lacinio, according to tradition it has been brought from the Orient in the first years of Christianity. The portal of S. Giuseppe's and the wooden statues of the seventeenth and eighteenth century kept there are beautiful. In S. Chiara's church one can admire the eighteenth century silverwares, while in the State Archaeological Museum very important are the series of finds, even prehistoric, that illustrate all of the town's glorious past. On the hills of the Marquisate stands the Castle built in 1541 by order of Pedro de Toledo to defend the populations against Saracen raids. 11 kilometers away from Crotone stands the discovery of the inhabitants of Crotone The symbol of Ionica Calabria which they love the most: the column of Era Lacinia's Temple, the Doric column well-known all over the world is derived from a famous temple with paintings by Zeusi, built in the sixteenth century B.C. it became the Italioti's sanctuary.
History of Crotone,
Running through Crotone's history again means remembering the most glorious features of the Magna Graecia civilization in Calabria. Crotone is certainly Pythagoras' town but its origins take root in the legend. It is said that the town has been built around 710 B.C. by a group of Achei that arrived in the Calabrian peninsula in order to obey the Delphic Oracle. The emigrants were led by a hunch back named Miscello. At first Crotone was under the influence of the powerful Sibari that was its ally during the destruction of Siri. In the meantime Crotone increased its territorial and economic importance on the Ionian coast westwards founding Scillezio and Caulonia. By this time the struggle with the now near Locri was inevitable and the Crotoniati were defeated. But they recovered from the ravages of the war immediately afterwards.
Pythagoras was the author of the moral, political and military rebuilding of Crotone; he established his residence in the Bruzio town around 532. In 510 B.C. the army of Crotone led by the renowned athlete Milone, attacked Sibari and destroyed it. Crotone became the most powerful centre of Magna Graecia overcoming even Taranto as far as trade is concerned, winning the Olympic games and becoming the most important medical centre of Western Magna Graecia, thanks to men such as Alcmeone and Democede. However a popular rising brought down the government and beat the Pythagoreans. Thurriol annexed the territories taken with Sibari’s defeat. A league with other towns of Magna Graecia didn't stop Dionisio il Vecchio from Syracuse from occupying Crotone around 378 B.C. Pythagoras' town, besieged by Lucani and Bruzi, asked Romans for help and was the setting of Pyrrhus' war. During the second Punic war it became a bivonac for Hannibal's armies. In the middle Ages it became a Byzantine town and afterwards a Norman one. Frederick II restored the port; Charles of Anjou gave it to the Ruffos in 1284. In 1799, Crotone revolted against the Bourbons but Cardinal Ruffo's armies took it by force and sacked it. From 1806 to the unity of Italy it was first under the English rule and afterwards under the French one.
The most traditional feasts in Crotone are two. The first one is the Feast of the Madonna of Capocolonna that takes place in spring. The second one is the Feast of Magna Graecia that takes place in summer. However, the hinterland of Crotone is rich in traditions. The Upper Ionian of Crotone, in fact, gives hospitality to the Albanian community of Pallagorio, S. Nicola del’ Alto and Carfizzi, where year by year old religious rites and arbereshe events are repeated.
Food and Wine
Crotone is at the same time a seaside and agricultural town. These two aspects interlace and produce exclusive gastronomic specialties such as the Mustica or the Sardella bottled in oil and hot pepper and other spices. In Crotone and along the coast fish cooked in several ways is a main course. The “Cavatelli”, a kind of homemade “orecchictte” seasoned with gravy and grated ripe cheese, are a characteristic and tasty dish. Crotone and its neighborhood are rich in vines of noble and old origins, the wines produced are well known all over the world. They are Ciro and Melissa, two inimitable red wines, sweet-smelling and strong table wines. Ciro has two variations: the rose and the white wine. Ciro, the gods' wine, was offered after the Olympic games to the winners. Among the sweets, we must remember the “pitta in chiusa”, a puff pastry flavored with wine and filled with walnuts, raisins and candied fruits, prepared like a rose and baked or fried in olive oil.